Pray for Peace During Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesday

St. Stephen's Church

"Mindful of all that is going on in the world at the present time, let us pray for those who most need our prayers, for peace, for living together in harmony."

These are the words of Catholic priest Jacques Hamel, martyred today during mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Pere Hamel wrote them in the most recent parish bulletin. 

Living in the parish in semi-retirement, he was assisting the pastor. Ordained in 1958, the murdered priest was 86 years old. 

For the last 18 months he had served along with the other religious leaders on an interfaith committee, including Mohammed Karabila, imam of the local mosque.

Ironically, the mosque in Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray was erected in 2000 on a plot of land donated by the Catholic parish.

His former archbishop remembered Pere Hamel as a man "who radiated kindness."

Father Jacques Hamel

Spend an hour tomorrow at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament to pray for "peace, for living together in harmony."


May Crowning of Mary

Holy Cross School children sang in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recited a decade of the rosary and a litany of some of Mary's many titles and presented flowers brought from their home gardens.

Our first communicants dressed in their communion outfits and presented the flowers along with their 8th grade prayer partners.

It was the first time the statue of Mary on the church shrine was so honored.


Stations of the Cross 7:00 PM Confessions 7:30 PM

Tonight's Stations of the Cross will be led by Holy Cross Men's Group and will use the "Stations of the Cross with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus" as prayer. It's an interesting resource, more wordy than we are used to, but quite beautiful. If you remember the Stations authored by Pope Benedict, it is on par.

The reflections focus on the self-giving of Christ on the road to Calvary which leads directly to the Eucharistic sacrifice at Mass. "At each of the fourteen stations, readers are encouraged to offer themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by uniting their sufferings with his in the Eucharist."

Please join us beginning at 7:00 PM for Stations followed at 7:30 PM by confessions.


Remembering Bishop John C. Reiss

BishopThis is the anniversary in 2012 of the death of Bishop John C. Reiss of the Trenton diocese, often called "a native son" because of his family roots in the diocese.

The funeral rites for the funeral rites were presided over by both the diocesan bishop John Smith and coadjutor bishop David O'Connell. Even Bishop Reiss' death came at a time of transition for our diocese.

Bishop Reiss' biography is on the diocese's webpage. There are also many interesting pictures of the bishop through the years which can be found with a Google image search.

I was the last priest to be ordained by Bishop Reiss, who had been the bishop during my years in seminary. On the morning of my ordination, I happened to encounter Bishop Reiss on his way into the cathedral in Trenton. I greeted him with a laugh and told him how glad I was to see him; he returned the greeting with a laugh saying he was glad to see me too.

Bishop Reiss' episcopal motto was "Let us Love One Another."


Holy Hour for the Family Wednesday 7:00 PM


Join us in prayer for the family at 7 PM, Wednesday Feb. 24th. The Holy Hour is being sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton as part of a series of pilgrimage Holy Hours at each of the churches in the diocese privileged to have a Holy Door of Mercy.

Media, lobby groups and legislative initiatives assault the traditional family on all sides. Moreover, the frantic pace of overly scheduled lives, the increasing burdens of long-term illness and the changing economic landscape can exacerbate tensions inside the home.

Drawing strength from the Holy Family and with support from like-minded believers, our families can not only survive, but thrive as living witnesses to the power of faith lived in a broken world. Let us join together and pray for God's help.



October 2015 Living Rosary In Church Prayer Garden





The October weather seemed more like spring and the sun was bright and vivid for the Living Rosary on the grounds of the church today. The sunshine helped the multi-colored T shirts shine, a different color for each decade of the rosary.

Our statue of Mary didn't make the celebration, in fact, she is lost somewhere between China and Rumson. We hope she will join us soon!

Thanks to the school children, their teachers and our parish staff who organized and the orchestrated the event with skill and patience. The parents who come each year to pray with their children teach their children the importance of prayer as much as anything the school can do.



Respect Life Sunday 2015

Not a Slippery Slope, No Slope At All

Those who advocate caution before instituting a change to longstanding ethics and morals often warn that a small change or exception to a moral norm will lead to accelerated and uncontrolled change – the “slippery slope” argument.




Such caution is often derided by those favoring social change who consider the use of the slippery slope argument pandering to fear.




Just exactly how many slips must we take before the slippery slope argument gets more traction? Each and every time we find ourselves sliding down the slope at morally dizzying speeds, it is well to remember we had been warned, but of little solace. NoSlope


Respect Life advocates have warned that physician assisted suicide, originally demanded for those in intractable pain with terminally fatal disease, will broaden to include non-life threatening conditions and be used without the patient’s consent. Moreover, the rights of health care providers to abstain from morally objectionable legal practices will come under assault. Recent popes and bishops have warned that permissive attitudes toward abortion will lead to a coarsening of social life and a commodification of the human person.



 Right to Euthanasia?


The Netherlands are a social experiment in end-of-life practice. Let’s take a look at a recent case report. (Bioedge ) A 19 year old woman who suffered from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) since age 12 had, with her parents’ approval, applied for euthanasia under Dutch law. A date for the killing was set and was proceeding according to plan until the woman’s general health care practitioner withdrew her approval of the killing. The hospital at which the euthanasia was to occur then also withdrew its support. In despair, the young woman fled to her family’s apple orchard where she hung herself.  Her family has filed a complaint against the general practitioner with the medical regulatory board in order that the physician not be able to “get away with” withdrawing consent for the killing.


Right to Life ?


Closer to home, the undercover videos showing top administrators of Planned Parenthood cunningly discussing remuneration for the bodies of aborted embryos with an eerie indifference to the lives of their “material,” have demonstrated that almost any protection or prohibition built into our permissive abortion laws can be artfully dodged. It would be hard to write a script which shows the commodification of human life in the abortion industry more clearly than these business lunch discussions with Planned Parenthood officials show. Many Americans now demand that the flow of federal tax dollars to such a morally repugnant industry be stemmed.




Take some time this weekend to research some of the dangers to our lives on this planet, not just in the ecosystem, but in our attitudes and legislation. Let us pray for a deeper respect for each unique human life and demand that such respect be reflected in the way we care for the unborn and the vulnerable in our society. 


Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column: The Best Things in the Worst Times

I'm so grateful for Fr. George Rutler's weekly homilies, pastor at St. Michael's Church in Manhattan, which always give me something to think and pray about. 

Here's an excerpt from this week's column, which reminded me of our church project at Holy Cross:

In our distressed nation, nothing is more essential than what barbarians consider unessential. I think of the youth who in the days of Oliver Cromwell and his iconoclasts built a church in defiance of a hostile government. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and died at the age of 27. The tablet in his church in Leicestershire is inscribed:

In the year 1653 when all things sacred were throughout the nation either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley, Baronet founded this church; whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous.

Memorial Day

In_remembranceIt is fitting to bring to mind the history of the national holiday we are about to celebrate this Monday, Memorial Day. (see for example, US Department of Veteran Affairs ) Originally celebrated for the dead soldiers in the American Civil War, after World War I the day of observance became a day to remember those who have died in any war in which America fought. Some may remember the day being called "Decoration Day" for the original tradition of placing flowers on the graves of the war dead. 

Since 2000 a national effort has been underway to observe a moment of silence at 3 PM to remember the war dead.

"O God, our Father, endless source of life and peace, welcome into Your merciful embrace the fallen of ...wars that have bloodied the earth. Grant that they may enjoy the light that does not fail, which in the reflection of Your splendor illumines the consciences of all men and women of good will.                                    Pope Benedict XVI

Join In the Palm Sunday Procession


Join us this coming Sunday at 10 AM in the municipal parking lot in Sea Bright for a procession to the 10:30 AM mass at Holy Cross Rumson.

The children's choir will be joining us. This year we have an additional banner of Jesus' Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem which will help passers-by understand the reason for our procession. I guess a bit of drive-by catechesis.

A public prayerful witness to our faith and our church is so important; please join us.

The procession will begin at 10:15 AM in order to arrive in time for the 10:30 mass.


Pope Condemns Execution of Christian Hostages by ISIS, Prays for the Deceased

I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: "Jesus, help me!". They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.

Let us pray for one another, and continue to advance in the way of wisdom, good will, strength and peace.

Pope Francis at the Vatican

Lenten Prayer Series Wednesday Nights


This Lent our Adult Faith Enrichment program will focus on prayer and art. We will be using a newly published book  Art and Prayer by Msgr. Timothy Verdon. The book is lavishly illustrated with color photographs of the works of art discussed in the text.  We will order only as many books as we need, so please make a reservation with the Parish Office or obtain your own copy. The requested donation if the parish orders your book is $ 25.

Here is a tentative schedule:


Ash Wednesday

February 18

Chapter 1

Prayer, Life, Art


February 25

Chapter 2

Spaces of Prayer


March 4

Chapter 3

Liturgical Prayer


March 11

Chapter 4

The Prayer of Pleading


March 18

Chapter 5

Lectio Divina


March 25

Chapter 6

Contemplative Prayer


April 1

Chapter 7

In the Hour of Death



Pray for Bishop O'Connell

By now you have heard of Bishop O'Connell's surgery and that he is recooperating in a local hospital. The bishop underwent a below the knee amputation of his left leg due to a serious infection in his foot.

 We have been praying for him at all our daily masses and will continue to do so this weekend and beyond. His post-op condition is good and after a period of recovery and rehabilitation, he expects to be visiting parishes and attending liturgies as usual. 

A statement from the Diocese of Trenton

Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., Diocese of Trenton, underwent surgery, Dec. 29, in a Trenton area hospital to remove his left foot, ankle and part of his lower left leg reaching halfway between the knee and the ankle. The surgery was needed to address several serious infections brought about by diabetes.

Bishop O'Connell's surgery was described as successful by his surgeons, and his recovery is going well. He will remain in the hospital for a brief period of observation, and then will be moved to a local rehabilitation center. He is expected to make a full recovery, and will be fitted for a prosthesis at a time to be determined by his doctors.

We ask members of the community to pray for Bishop O’Connell in the coming weeks and months, as he recovers and completes his rehabilitation. Anyone wishing to send a card or note may do so at the following address:
Most Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M.
The Chancery, Diocese of Trenton
701 Lawrenceville Rd.
Trenton, NJ 08648
Attn: Office of Communications

Carols at the Christmas Manger and Lighting of the Christmas Tree TONIGHT!

Join us at 7 PM for Holy Cross Annual Carols at the Creche and Christmas Tree Lighting. Our faithful collection of live animals, including a donkey for Mary to ride and Joseph to lead will be there, along with plenty of good cheer, carols and Christmas joy. The weather looks promising (at least it might not be as COLD as last year!)  and the spirit is right.

Look for a special view of the new church (if all things work out as planned...)


The Living Rosary: A Beautiful Day for A Beautiful Prayer

The weather was spectacular for the Living Rosary. The clear blue sky contrasted with the rainbow of colors, a unique color for each decade of the rosary. Everyone was very well behaved and prayerful. After many minutes of quiet prayer, it is always fun to shout to the heavens with the most exultant "alleluias" of praise to God.


Parish Feastday This Weekend !

Don't miss this Sunday's Parish Picnic for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross! We will begin the celebration with Eucharist at 12 noon and follow with food, fun and games immediately following.



We will also offer tours of the new church to be given by parish volunteers to small groups. It will be a great opportunity to see the inside of the building we have all been watching on the outside for so long.


Celebrate the Parish Feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross With Mass, A Picnic and A Tour of the New Church

Church01Sunday, September 14th is the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, our Parish Feastday.

Please join us for prayer and Eucharist and following the 12 noon mass, an outdoor picnic coordinated by both the parish staff and the PTA from 12 PM to 3 PM.

There will be plenty of activities for the children so mom and dad should get some time to relax, and lots to eat.

A group of our docents has volunteered to give walk through tours of the new church. We should be able to accomodate small groups all afternoon. 

Let us pray for the spiritual health of our parish and all its parishioners on this most joyful day!